As holidays come to an end, it’s time to get back into routine. This means no more lazy morning sleep-ins or pressing the snooze button on your alarm. But just how do we swap our body clock from being night lovers to early morning risers?
It’s 6am and you’ve promised yourself to get back into the gym, do you;
a) jump out of bed and reach for your workout gear as soon as your alarm goes off?
b) Remain on the edge of sleep and eventually get out of bed, later than you intended?
c) Hit snooze on your alarm and fall instantly back to sleep?
If it’s option B or C, you’re not alone. Your struggles to get out of bed in the morning might be caused by sleep inertia, the feeling of grogginess we all experience after waking up. What you might not know is that this feeling can last from 1 minute to a couple of hours.
So how do we shake the morning blues and win the battle of our body clocks?
The fact that morning exercise holds more benefits than late afternoon or night workouts is good motivation. As a reward for your early morning wake up call, morning exercise will kick start your metabolism.
A vigorous morning fitness session can give your metabolism a kick for up to 12 hours. By beginning your day with exercise, the endorphins jump in, helping you feel good. You also have more time to finish that checklist of shopping or fit extra things in that pop up during the day.
Here’s how you can reset your body clock for the New Year.
Sunlight is the best medicine when wanting to train yourself to wake up earlier.
Bright light in the mornings reminds our body clock that we should be awake. It also suppresses the level of melatonin, a hormone related to the sleep-wake cycle that makes you drowsy. If you suppress the melatonin bit by bit each morning it will begin to kick in earlier at night, moving your whole body clock forward a few hours.
By launching yourself out of bed and darkness into the sunlight and activity you are reinforcing the suppression of melatonin. Combined with the launch of endorphins, energy and metabolism, you’ll be giving yourself a head start to a great day.
By changing your meal and social routines you can also change your body clock. By bringing your meals forward and unwinding earlier, you can train and signal to your body clock when it’s time sleep, working towards earlier bed times and earlier mornings.
Set your alarm for when you really want to get out of bed. No more back up alarms in case you sleep in, set one alarm and stick to it. It might help to turn your alarm up louder or set it to the radio so you’re woken up by a different sound every morning.
Like anything, waking up early will take some time to become routine. Push through the first couple of weeks and enjoy the long term benefits.
By BB Intern Dominique Tait
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